Aiden’s four month update

Last Friday we hit the four-month mark with Aiden. He’s picking up weight well but is a small little fellow, clocking in at the lower end of the growth chart. Perhaps the Goodwin genes are stronger in this one; perhaps he’s just a late bloomer. Time will tell.

At 11 weeks old (14 December to be precise) he started smiling, and this time round I was the lucky recipient of his first grin. He’s gurgling delightfully and his level of interaction grows each day. He’s generally a very easy baby and, as non-first children must, has learnt to be fairly adaptable. He loves being in both the sling and wrap, neither of which I got right with Cam.

The only thing blighting our existence right now is Aidy’s reflux. Just when I think it’s getting better it seems to get worse again. He’s also struggling with wind and those pesky ones that I don’t manage to get out during the day, build up and come back to haunt us at 3am. It’s for this reason that I chose ‘ickle grunion’ (little someone who moans) as the Roald Dahl phrase for this month’s photo – the soundtrack to our wee hours is the poor mite complaining about wind-related discomfort.

We are nearly at the three-month mark in terms of his corrected age, and I mention this with a mixture of trepidation and hope. Hope, because at three months some things usually get easier – winding, longer stretches between feeds, more interaction to fill one’s heart. But trepidation too because at four months Cameron started cutting his first tooth and The Dark Days (which lasted for the next five months) began.

In some ways the last four months have flown by, in others I feel like my entire life has become a never ending loop of feeding, burping, rocking … Do it all again. But from our previous flip on this ride I know how many changes come about in the months ahead – solid food, more sleep, mobility! So at the risk of having to eat my words, I’m going to say that it feels like we are through the hardest bit. The very fact I have written this post after months of silence seems proof of that. We live in hope!

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Beaming from ear to ear

Yesterday Cameron gave us his first real smile! He’s been on the verge of doing so for days and Colin and I have been walking around like demented Chesire cats trying to coax it out of him. And then yesterday, while we were out to lunch with Colin’s dad, Cam flashed Col his first smile! A few minutes later a gummy grin was bestowed on me too so neither mom nor dad needs to feel left out in this case (what a considerate boy he is!).

Now that we know he can do it, the demented Chesire cats have taken it up a notch, but then we have so much to smile about so why not! To further mark his nine weeks in this world, Cam flipped from his tummy to his back while Col was giving him his bath yesterday evening. And so an eagle eye and lightning hands, as well as a huge grin, are now requirements for these pround parents!

The preemie gap

Cameron is eight weeks today and getting cuter by the minute. He’s almost completely over his recent bout of bronchiolitis and is once again a predominately contented little chap. He is getting really chubby now, with little fat rolls everywhere (there is definitely a resemblance to a shar-pei developing). He has got the most beautiful blue eyes and is becoming increasingly alert. I am starting to see more and more of Col in him, especially in the way he stretches when he’s waking up. All in all, our boy is making wonderful progress.

However, having said all that, for the first time we are noticing the preemie gap. Until now there hasn’t seemed to be much different between Cameron and a full term baby. But while full-term babies have now reached that magic six week mark, Cameron is still very much in the two to six week phase. His smile reflex is very evident but we have yet to see our first social smile. He is still on a three-hour feeding schedule, occasionally pushing it to four hours at night. If he is awake for more than an hour he starts to get really cranky and he still gets over stimulated incredibly quickly. That initial gruelling ‘new born’ period is turning out to be slightly longer for us and we are starting to take a wee bit of strain.

The thing that is getting to me the most is the lack of sleep. At six weeks most babies start to skip one of the night feeds, giving moms a blissful six-hour stretch. I’m still on a two-hour sleep schedule and it’s starting to show. My short-term memory is completely shot. I am heavily dependent on my lists as I can’t remember what medication I gave Cam at his last feed, never mind what happened yesterday. I read a page of my book and can’t process what it was about. It’s a bit of a miracle actually that I’m managing to string these sentences together at all (please ignore the typos – I am sure there are many).

But the worst part about it, and the real irony, is that I’m not sleeping all that well when I do sleep. I am so aware of Cameron’s every little noise that often I leap out of bed ready for the next feed but he still sleeps for another hour while I doze fitfully in the nursery. I dream that I’m feeding him in our room and then wake with a jolt and frantically start searching for him in our bed. And invariably when I lie down for a nap during the day he stirs 20 minutes later, waking me with a rush of adrenaline which leaves me wide-eyed while he drifts back to dreamland. Suffice to say I am starting to understand why sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture.

Taking the preemie gap into account, Cameron should start moving into his next developmental phase in about two weeks. It seems an eternity right now, but we’ll continue to take it one day at a time and try to take the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.’